By Mitchell Clarke
BlazeAid Bunyip and the Officer Sikh Gurudwara have both been recognised for their teamwork by the State Government as part of the Premier’s Volunteer Champions Awards.
In its seventh year, the awards, which were created to recognise the impact volunteers had across Victoria in building communities, services and connections, were awarded to 57 volunteers on Sunday 1 December.
More than 1.5 million Victorians volunteer their time, skills and experience, with their contribution to the economy estimated to be worth $42 billion by 2021.
Carers and Volunteers Parliamentary Secretary Anthony Carbines joined Disability, Ageing and Carers Minister Luke Donnellan in thanking the volunteers.
“Every year we see outstanding volunteers who are putting their heart and soul into working together to support Victorians,” Mr Carbines said.
“These awards recognise the outstanding and selfless work that all our volunteers do in the community every do,” Mr Donnellan added.
“Congratulations to all award recipients. You are the backbone of our local communities, providing comfort and relief to people who need it most.”
BlazeAid’s Bunyip team were described as “one of the most impressive examples” of how volunteers rally in a crisis.
Following the tragic Bunyip bushfires in March, a 600-strong team of dedicated volunteers came together in just 10 days to assist farmers in their rebuilding efforts.
Over 160 properties registered to receive fencing help and 150km of new fences had been constructed on about 140 properties.
BlazeAid Bunyip coordinator John Anderson said it was pleasing for the group of volunteers to be recognised for their work.
“This is a team effort, around 600 volunteers have put work in after the fires, it’s great recognition,” Mr Anderson said.
“Rewards and recognition come in many different forms.
“When you’re in BlazeAid, there’s a number of wins. For volunteers, one of the biggest wins is seeing fences back up and cattle grazing again.”
Meanwhile, the Siri Guru Nanak Darbar (SGND) was also award for “going beyond” their mandate of being a place of worship, undertaking several social cohesion activities that created bridges of trust between multi-cultural communities.
Since its inception in January, the team have provided free meals to BlazeAid volunteers, contributed hay for the Need for Feed movement, organised warm clothes for homeless, planted 600+ trees, provided food donations to 4Cs and much more.
SGND doesn’t have a formal committee, instead run by a group of volunteers who work in diverse professions.